In Safe Hands - releasing the potential of clinical teams

Ten Functions of In Safe Hands

In order to build and sustain effective and efficient healthcare teams, there are ten functions that support and strengthen teams to become cohesive, placing patients at the centre of high quality care. A comprehensive guide has been developed to help improve your unit in relation to each function.

In Safe Hands - releasing the potential of clinical teams

Acknowledgements: Charles Pain

A summary of the ten functions is below:

  1. Leadership and Governance is the cornerstone for effective teamwork. Good leadership provides direction to clinicians while setting a high standard of clinical care and is considerate about the needs of individual team members.
  2. Team Structures and Dynamics are important elements for good decision making. Situational awareness of team members, patients and the environment aides in understanding factors that may affect team performance, decision making and the delivery of safe and effective care.
  3. Care Planning and Coordination is essential to ensure timely, effective and efficient care for patients. This is particularly important for patients with complex healthcare needs.
  4. Standard Protocols and Procedures provide clinical teams with the resources and skills needed to provide safe and effective care continuously.
  5. Patient Safety and Quality Systems assist in ensuring that what we are doing is working. Reflecting on clinical practice and evaluating care outcomes is an essential component in the delivery of safe effective care.
  6. The Patient Experience is improved when patients and their families are equal members of the healthcare team. It is essential that teams monitor and assess what is important to patients and whether they are meeting their needs.
  7. Education, Training and Supervision is fundamental to building and maintaining a sustainable workforce with appropriate skills and knowledge. Effective supervision and mentoring of all team members brings increased learning and professional development opportunities.
  8. Workforce Management has an important role in supporting high performing teams. Processes can be designed to ensure effective teamwork is valued and sustained through recruitment practices, role descriptions, performance reviews and professional development. Standards for team behaviours should be defined and upheld through effective workforce strategies and processes.
  9. Support Services and Equipment includes patient support assistants, cleaners, biomedical engineers and other support staff who play an important role in assisting the healthcare team to provide safe, effective care. Collaboration with these team members is frequently required.
  10. Information Management tools including electronic journey boards and information sharing systems assist in ensuring that patient information at the point of care is current. Communication, teamwork and decision making relies on having accurate patient information and communication pathways.


Further background information on In Safe Hands can be found in a research paper presented by Charles Pain at the Patient Centred Healthcare Teams: Achieving Collaboration, Communication and Care, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.